Check out 15 of the world’s strangest theme restaurants


I admit, I’ve never been the biggest fan of theme restaurants.

This is an opinion no doubt hardened by a few visits to medieval theme restaurants in Boston and Prague over the years, punctuated as they were with ridiculous performances and barely edible food. Theme restaurants always have seemed to me long on kitsch and short on that most basic of restaurant foundations: good food.

But I’d easily make an exception for any of these 15 wacky theme restaurants that the good people over at WebUrbanist have put together. Clearly, my thinking of how far such a place can go to deliver something truly unusual has been pretty lame.

Sure, there are a few Gothic places on the list, including one in Tokyo decked out completely in red, to resemble, one assumes, the inside of an artery (complete with red blood cells painted on the walls and floor).

But there are others that seem really worth a visit, if only to see (A.) whether such a place really exists or (B.) the strange juxtaposition of the restaurant’s theme and the reality outside its walls. Consider, for example, Buns & Guns in Beirut, a restaurant born out of the 2006 war with Israel, with such menu items as “M16 Carbine meat sandwiches” and “mortar burgers.”

Faithful readers of Matthew Firestone’s Big in Japan dispatches know just how strange a place Japan can be, so it’s not surprising that four of these odd theme restaurants are in Tokyo. There’s a restaurant with a vampire theme, a chain of restaurants fashioned to resemble Catholic churches and one restaurant in which diners can order an edible human body, delivered whole to their table whereby they cut into it like surgeons (scalpels are provided) and fish out edible organs.

In Beijing you can dine in total darkness in the Stygian-themed Pitch Black (wait staff wear night goggles). In Truskavets, Ukraine, you can dine in a large coffin. In Manila, you can patronize the Hobbit House, where the staff are all little people.

Some on the list have since closed or changed their names, their themes having proved, well, a tad unworkable. Case in point: An ill-conceived restaurant in Mumbai meant to pay homage to Adolf Hitler.

The weirdest on the list? We can debate, but my vote goes to a restaurant called Modern Toilet in Taipei, Taiwan, where diners sit on toilets and eat soups, meat dishes and fecal-looking ice cream out of miniature commodes and drink out of small urinals. Who thinks this stuff up?

No list like this is exhaustive, of course. Know of any other strange theme restaurants? Drop us a line.